Atoms in Time
Book by: Mathew Nicolson
1 EXT. SPACESHIP.
A lonely, lifeless SPACESHIP drifts through the darkness. A
few stars, but not many. The outskirts of the Galaxy.
But what’s that? A light switches on.
2 INT. SPACESHIP.
FRANK - 22, rude, cowardly - moves over to the Auxiliary
Engines, and writes on a piece of paper quickly.
The com system beeps.
(over the coms)
FRANK! YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE IN
THE MAIN SECTOR FOR REGISTRATION
FIVE MINUTES AGO!
Frank curses under his breath, quickly jots down some
information, turns of the light and runs out the room.
3 INT. MAIN SECTOR.
FRANK runs in. The other people in the room are:
ISABELLA - 44, Authoritative, Courageous.
ANDY - 25, a warrior, obedient.
MARGARET - 30, clever, experienced.
LYSANDER - 25, strange, good at his job.
Ah, there you are, at last. We
were beginning to think you’d set
yourself alight by the engines...
Frank ignores her.
Right, the rescue ship will be five
days. We have enough food, water
and Oxygen to survive until then,
but our power is running
low. Without it, all our life
support units will shut down and
we’ll die. So don’t use any power,
They all nod.
We’ll have to get used to living in
these low-power conditions, so
we’ll need to cut down on light. I
also wish to do a register three
times a day, to get into a good
habit. I’ll start now.
As she says a name, the person is shown, and they say
Andy? Margaret? I know Frank is
here... Lysander? And finally...
More silence. Isabella sighs.
Where is Geoff?
I saw him just ten minutes ago, in
Isabella walks to the com system.
Geoff! Get in here, NOW!
What the blazes is going
BLEEEERRRGGGAAAAAA!! (An alien cry)
Crew members gasp.
4 OPENING CREDITS.
5 INT. TARDIS.
THE AUTHOR runs about the control panel - a particularly
Why do you... run around so much?
It’s good for the blood flow,
John! Get’s the mind
pumping! Anyway, where now?
You want to go somewhere
else? After all that? So soon?
John sighs in despair.
Alright. But somewhere relaxing!
I’ll guarantee it. How about...
The First Moon of the Astacian
Economical Republic? You’ll love
it John, being an astronomer, it’s
simply amazing! I’ve read about it
a lot - it appears frequently in my
books - but I’ve always wanted to
go there! You know, they say that
species from all over the Tanglon
Arm converge upon that one moon...
John sighs again.
I may regret this, but okay!
The Author grins. He slams down on a button, and pulls a
lever... the Tardis spins and shakes, taking them to their
6 MAIN SECTOR.
It’s important! As you asked, I
weighed the weight of the
ship. But 239 kilograms have been
added on since!
I’m getting to the bottom of
this. Frank? Go check the
But that’s where-
Frank hurries out the door.
Then, a voice can be heard over the coms. A deep, slow...
but human voice...
I... address... the crew... of...
Isabella, Margaret, Andy and LYSANDER’S faces immediately
Are you the saboteurs?
You... will... listen... to...
I am in command here. TELL me, WHO
DEATH. WE BRING DEATH!
Static, over the coms. It has gone.
That voice... it sounds like Geoff!
Can it be... ?
7 INT. TARDIS.
Thud. They’ve landed. THE AUTHOR is looking at the
This isn’t the Seventh Moon of the
Astacian Economical Republic...
We haven’t landed in the wrong
place again, have we?
I don’t understand... we’re...
He switches the scanner to image. It reveals a spaceship.
Aha! We’ve landed on a
spaceship! Human! Thirty-third
century! But this is a bit far out
for that time period, surely?
If you say so... how far are we
We’re on the other side of the
This sinks in for John.
This is the furthest away from home
In more ways than one - 33rd
Can we see? Outside?
John is shocked.
Why should you?
The Author smiles.
Of course you can! What’s the
point in traveling to the other
side of the galaxy if you can’t see
They exit the Tardis.
8 INT. SPACESHIP. A CORRIDOR.
The Tardis has materialised as a large container. It fits
in, as the spaceship is a cargo ship. However, containers
aren’t usually in corridors...
How did this get in here?
THE AUTHOR and JOHN exit the Tardis.
You, what... ? STOWAWAYS!
Ah, no, um, I can explain!
Frank holds a gun up towards them. He speaks in a phone to
I’ve found two stowaways, right
where the extra weight was
added. I suspect they tampered
with the ship’s weight dispersers.
Please understand Frank, that in
normal circumstances I would never
ask you to do this.
I order you to kill any stowaways
you see, on sight.
THE AUTHOR AND JOHN
They threatened to kill us all.
She puts the speaker down.
Frank holds the gun with both arms, towards The Author and
No! Stop! We’re not going to kill
You’re right about that. I’ll kill
We’ve just landed here! We don’t
know about threatening to kill
Frank ignores them. His finger slowly puts pressure on the
I’ve never killed anyone before...
but we were all trained how to
Frank, listen to me... We do not
mean anybody and harm-
Frank very obviously faces a dilemma over shooting someone.
Frank immediately turns. Geoff is standing on the other
side of the corridor.
Do not kill them.
I have to. They will kill us all!
I will kill you all!
Frank turns away from the Author and John, and aims his gun
at Geoff, who advances towards him.
BANG. BANG. BANG. Frank fires, but it does no
good. Geoff is coming closer, and closer, and closer...
The Author and John run down the corridor. They turn a
corner. Frank’s screams can be heard from behind them.
9 MAIN SECTOR.
They’re a-coming this way, mateys!
Shoot to kill.
THE AUTHOR and JOHN continue running.
Somewhere relaxing, I said!
This seems to happen a lot to us...
They stop. Margaret, Lysander and Andy are stood in front
of them, all holding guns. Isabella is standing behind
HALT! WHO ARE YOU?
Listen to me, we’ve just arrived
Lies! You plan to kill us!
A VOICE appears - again - over the coms.
A possessed Geoff and Frank appear at the other end of the
They speak, revealing the fact that they are the creatures
on the coms.
FRANK AND GEOFF
We want your life force.
Listen, I know what you’re facing,
and I know how to stop them, but
you have to retreat, now!
She stares at him.
Why should I listen to you?
Because I can save you.
Tension. She still stares at him.
He’s right. Retreat!
I’m not saving you! Andy,
Lysander, take him to the cargo
hold, and keep him there! Andy,
you watch over them!
They run down the corridor.
Frank and Geoff remain standing still.
That man... He is not human.
We will analyse him further.
They advance down the corridor.
11 MAIN SECTOR.
They all run in. ANDY and LYSANDER depart with THE AUTHOR
and JOHN, taking them by gun-point down to another part of
the ship. Only MARGARET and ISABELLA are left.
This is some sort of infection, and
it’s spreading. Remove the outer
COMPLETELY REMOVE THEM ALL!!
Margaret slams her fist down on a button.
12 CARGO HOLD.
The ship rapidly SHAKES.
She’s crazy! She’s split the ship
in half just to get rid of whatever
is causing this! Oh, but poor
Geoff... and Frank...
Split the ship in half!?
They are shoved into a cell.
Yeah, right? Ejecting the sectors
to get rid of the freaks!
But that’s murder. I could have
Sure you could.
Lysander leaves. Andy stays to keep guard.
What about the Tardis?
The Author realises.
NO! The Tardis!
13 EXT. SPACESHIP.
Bits of debris fly about, through space, moving away from
the spaceship. Among it is the Tardis...
14 CARGO HOLD.
That won’t stop them, either. I
know this force, they’re called the
Asaecians. They’re the parasites
of this Galaxy, having no body of
their own. Until they find life
and inhabit it, they exist merely
as a bundle of massive, absolutely
massive energy. But now they’ve
found this ship... they won’t let
And now we have no way of escaping.
15 ANOTHER CORRIDOR.
LYSANDER is walking back to the main sector. However, there
is hissing from above him.
Lysander looks up, cautiously.
Why, the ventilation systems have
all been a-shut down, so what the
llama is that!?
The hissing intensifies. Electrical sparks begin flying
from the roof.
No... NO! NOOOOO!!!!
He screams, while being electrocuted, then falls unconcious.
16 MAIN SECTOR.
I don’t like this. Not one
bit. Geoff and Frank are now
dead. It was my fault they came.
I’ve heard of infections like this
before. There was a case, about a
century ago, where a cargo ship
took some energy from a star, but
it was some living neuro-organism,
and possessed them to get the fuel
Yes, I heard about that. And there
was that fiasco with the Ood. I
was right to kill Geoff and Frank,
so the infection cannot spread.
Where has Lysander got to?
She picks up a microphone.
LYSANDER is standing, upright, too upright for a human to
I am on my way.
Good. Has anything unusual
Good. Come here as soon as you can
I am on my way.
Did you notice that?
Notice? Notice what?
Lysander normally talks strange -
if he wasn’t a genius I’d never
have hired him - but just now he
was being formal.
And he’s coming this way...
Shut the emergency doors!
The emergency doors snap shut.
Andy! Andy, talk to me!
18 CARGO HOLD.
What is it?
Get your gun, and find
He grabs his gun, and runs down the corridor.
THE AUTHOR and JOHN are left alone.
I though he’d never leave.
The Author gets out the SONIC DEVICE, and uses it on the
door, which opens.
What are you going to do?
I’m going to try and prevent any
ANDY catches up with LYSANDER.
Lysander turns around, calmly. He obeys, and sticks his
arms in the air.
Are you possessed?
THE AUTHOR and JOHN appear behind him.
Yeah, ignore us; he’s the one who
could kill you.
Andy unwillingly obeys. Lysander stares at The Author.
I have figured out what you are.
The Author reacts with annoyance, shock, and surprise all at
You... Time Lord? Oh no...
What’s a Time-Lord?
According to this Asaecian here, I
A time lord is too dangerous! The
second plan will commence!
Second plan... ?
Lysander advances towards them, threateningly. Andy shoots
rapidly at him, but it does no good.
He gets closer...
What’s he doing?
It’s let him go... Why would it let
Andy moves the gun to the Author.
You know so much... Who are
you? It said time-Lord-
Yeah, it did, and I never knew.
The Author grins. He is closer to finding out his
identity. Now all he has to do is avoid dying first...
Come on, to the main sector!
What about him?
John points to the body on the floor.
Don’t touch him; he could still be
infected. If the Asaecians really
let him go, he’ll be fine!
They run down the corridor.
CAMERA PANS DOWN TO LYSANDER.
Lysander slightly twitches.
20 MAIN SECTOR.
We have no choice but to trust him
ISABELLA sighs. She turns off the com, and turns to
In the case you mentioned earlier,
it was said there was a man that
arrived and saved them. Records
say, he was some form of medical
agent. Could this be him?
It was a century ago, records do
She switches the coms on again.
What’s the hold-up? Where are
We’re nearly here, it’s just-
They all go silent.
What was that? Andy?
They all run up the corridor, for LYSANDER is chasing them.
I’m opening the emergency doors,
but I’ll need to close them the
moment you’re through! If you’re
slow it isn’t my problem!
They run up the corridor. A chase scene. John is falling
Keep running, John!
They reach the emergency doors.
Andy and The Author run through.
John is behind, closely followed by Lysander.
John, get out of the way!
John dodges, and Andy fires at Lysander, who falls dead.
John slows up.
The author is unimpressed.
I could have saved him. You just
murdered one of your colleagues.
I saved your friend.
How come he died? Earlier,
shooting did no good.
The Aesacians must want us dead, it
left him just as the bullet was
The emergency door has shut.
22 JOHN’S SIDE.
23 THE AUTHOR’S SIDE.
24 MAIN SECTOR.
The door closed!
Who closed it? Did you?
Isabella turns. Margaret has been infected.
Oh, no... Margaret...
Margaret darts to the controls, pressing lots of buttons
Isabella wastes no time. She finds a gun and fires. It
does no good.
The ship lurches to a side. Isabella falls over.
You will all die.
Margaret falls to the floor, huddled over, chanting.
Flamma. Flamma. Accuso. Exuro. Ego.
Mos. Exuro. Noctis. Vito.
Margaret then bursts into flames. Right where she’s
standing. Until nothing is left. The combustion was quick
– the body could not be seen within the flames. All that is
left is a very small pile of ash on the ground.
Isabella is lost for words, for the first time in her life.
THE AUTHOR and ANDY run in.
Ah! Just missed it! Why, why,
The ship lurches again.
John falls against the wall. He finds a window, and looks
out. They are descending upon a planet!
26 MAIN SECTOR.
They’ve set the ship to collide
with the nearest center of
gravity... A planet!
The Author goes to the controls. ISABELLA helps him with
They’re quantum locked!
The Author uses his SONIC DEVICE on it.
I think I can break them! See if
the emergency doors will open, in
case we do die, I don’t want John
to die alone!
Isabella slams down on a button.
The emergency doors open.
JOHN is relieved.
28 MAIN SECTOR.
Andy, go and get John, will you?
ANDY obeys, a bit confused.
Now then, to save the ship!
Have they gone? Whatever has been
I think they discovered how easily
someone of my race - Time-Lords,
apparently - can destroy them, so
they’re trying to kill us instead!
They both work on the controls. An image on the scanner
appears - they are falling nearer and nearer the planet.
Impact in 60 seconds!
ANDY and JOHN run in.
Not now, John!
The Author frantically works on the controls
This isn’t an exam!
The Author finds a hammer, and begins banging on pieces of
equipment while darting to and fro.
Then, John becomes possessed. He cries out, and falls to
Ah! Author, I...
You will not win. You will die.
The Author stops what he is doing.
Get away from him!
The Author stays standing.
I’m not leaving him to die!
30 seconds until impact!
The Author is forced with a terrible choice, and a terrible
If this doesn’t work, then I’m
sorry. We will all die.
The Author kneels down by John, and places his hands on
John’s head, as a time-lord does to erase someone memories.
The Author’s eyes close, as do John’s. John stops chanting,
and they both fall onto the ground unconscious.
Isabella runs to the controls, trying everything, but
Isabella gives up, distraught. She closes her eyes,
It doesn’t come.
The ship lurches upwards.
Andy and Isabella fall against the wall.
The scanner shows the ship is flying along the planet’s
29 EXT. SPACESHIP - THE PLANET
SS. CAESAR flies through the air over the planet. It slowly
comes to a halt, and lands.
The planet is rather deserted, with bits of primitive plant
life here and there.
30 INT. SPACESHIP - MAIN SECTOR.
(recovering from shock)
Ha! We’re alive!
She moves to JOHN and THE AUTHOR’S bodies.
John wakes up.
Where am I... What happened?
Isabella smiles slightly.
I don’t know. But we’ve been
Everything went black... but I kept
hearing voices... Then everything
was so hot...
Isabella moves to check The Author’s body.
John moves to The Author’s body too, and checks for himself.
He can’t be! NO!
I’m... I’m sorry.
He’s left me! He swore I’d be
Isabella, sad, gets up.
This has been a terrible day. Five
deaths... Too many...
WIDE SHOT, SHOWING ALL OF THEM, IN THEIR SADNESS.
31 EXT. SPACESHIP - THE PLANET.
ISABELLA and ANDY step out, onto a new planet.
The rescue ships will do a scan and
find us here. The plants on this
planet are edible, and there must
be water around somewhere. We’ll
survive until then.
JOHN steps out.
Where are you from, John? The
Author wasn’t human, was he?
John shakes his head, but doesn’t answer her other question.
The Author once told me The Tardis
is programmed to find the nearest
center of gravity if something were
to happen to it. That’s this
planet, so the Tardis must be
around here somewhere. Maybe then
I can find a way home.
So, what, you’re just going to
wander about until you find it?
A door opens from behind them.
That’s rather time consuming,
John. I have a better idea.
John spins round.
How? You were dead!
I was merely in a self induced
coma. See, I know the Asaecians;
they are very psychic
creatures. Fortunately, so am
I. Humans aren’t, so they can prey
easily on you lot, but once they
identified me, they deemed it too
dangerous to continue possessing us
and tried to kill us instead.
But, how did you save us?
They realised I could stop the
collision, since I’m a genius and
all, so they possessed you to
distract me. It worked, but it was
a big mistake, as I could then use
my natural psychic ability to
reverse the process and possess the
collective consciousness of the
I don’t understand.
I don’t expect you to. But anyway,
controlling the Asaecians, I took
complete control of the ship. It
took it’s toll on me, which is why
I had to go into a coma. But, my
physiology is quite tough, so I
managed to survive.
Who are you?
That’s what I intend to find
out. It called me a Time-Lord,
which sounds pretty important.
What are we going to do now? The
Tardis is gone!
No it isn’t. Just now, I did a
quick scan using your ship’s
machinery - I hope you don’t mind -
and it’s only a couple of miles
You have a spaceship?
Yes, we do. You can’t use it
though, sorry. But you’ll be safe
here, waiting for help.
The ship still has enough energy to
fly a couple of miles. Would you
like us to give you a lift there?
The Author smiles.
If you’re offering, I can hardly
refuse. Come on John!
They walk into the spaceship.
32 INT. TARDIS.
THE AUTHOR closes the door.
I thought you were dead. I thought
I’d been left on some alien planet,
which I’d have to spend the rest of
I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.
But you don’t know that! You told
me we could go anywhere in
time and space, but you didn’t
mention that everywhere we go there
will be aliens trying to kill us!
I want to go home.
The Author is surprised, and slightly saddened. But he
Right. Yes. Earth, 21st
He fiddles with the controls. The Tardis takes off.
The Author looks at John.
And realises he’s serious this time.
33 END CREDITS.
© Copyright 2017 Mathew Nicolson. All rights reserved.